A little slice of Heaven called CHURCH
Living in Los Angeles is indeed a trip. As the famous gossip columnist Rona Barrett once said; “Pick your enemies carefully or you’ll never make it in Los Angeles.” People tend to live in a dream world here where who you are is identified by the car you drive or the celebrity’s personal cell number in your iPhone. Young hopefuls flock here by the thousands hoping to make their dreams come true and the city supports that mission by placing more importance on material and superficial gains over spiritual enlightenment. LA denizens actually believe if they jog for two hours in the morning they are morally fit. As Craig Kilbourn joked, “People here in Los Angeles are disgusted now about a sex scandal involving Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently for seven years, he carried on a sexual relationship with his own wife.” Yep, that’s my hometown, love it or not.
But a slice of heaven opened up in the dark heart of Hollywood and standing at the pearly gates are Rodney Burns and David Malvaney . These two angels are responsible for opening a high-end boutique that caters to the rich and famous and those who just think they are and they named the store CHURCH. I have to say, the first time I walked into CHURCH I was immediately silenced in awe from the clothing hanging by the ceiling. Rodney and David have an aesthetic like I’ve never seen in this city. And it’s so refreshing to have met two people who not only have an impeccable eye for designers and the clothing they stock, but also that these two are actually NICE. Like, really really NICE. Not fake, not name-dropping, not distracted, not showing off their expensive cars, but just down to Earth, REAL people! I didn’t feel like I was being judged by my shoes when I walked in, or that they unleashed some assistant to go outside and try to figure out which car I pulled up in. They were warm, generous, inviting and charming. I don’t think I have had the chance to use all four adjectives in one sentence when describing LA boutique owners, possibly ever. And the clothes ain’t cheap. This is on parallel to Maxfield’s. Oh wait a minute, that’s where they hail from, leaving the snooty store behind and opening up their idea of what a boutique should be. I am a huge supporter and fan because our little dusty town needs more people like these guys!
When I shot a small ad job for them recently, I put up one of my seamless’ right there in the store and pulled the clothes off the floor with Rodney and I putting the looks together. I used one light, once again. A profoto head at about 300 watts. I used a large umbrella placed above the model to the left so there was some fall off on her from the hips down. I shot with my Nikon D2x and my 85 f/1.4 D lens. And that’s it. So simple anyone could reproduce this. My model was Erin Urb from Photogenics and she’s about as gorgeous as they come. Hair was by Steve David and make up by Heather Kubly-Pepe. You’ll probably see their names for awhile as we’ve sort of formed a little posse out here. Tyler Mitchell assisted me and he’s fast becoming a member of the clique. As long as he keeps me laughing, he’s in!
There’s really not much more to say about the technical side to this shoot. Let’s see: the model was about 2 to 3 feet from the background, I used a medium grey seamless, the light was double diffused and about 6 feet from her body. Oh and I shot around f11 at 250th of a second. The whole day. Rodney and David are happy with the results but again, my team is responsible and the model I worked with and the clothing was out of this world!! I mean, with all those elements in place, how can you go wrong?
Another exciting thing on the table for me is that I have been asked by Smashbox’s FACE OFF 2009 to be one of the judges for their competition. A competition that has been running for 14 years, FACE OFF features the talent of up-and-coming photographers! It’s a GREAT way to get exposure when you’re starting out. Check out their super cool blog Yello! They just posted a interview they did with me today. I really encourage you guys to submit to the FACE OFF competition. Like I said, it’s a great way to get recognition!!